Customers strum music in Manila's ukulele cafe
Ukulele players gather in Brooklyn as part of NAMM Mass Appeal to celebrate Make Music Day at the Tea Lounge in Park Slope, Brooklyn on June 21, 2014 in New York City. Photograph: (Getty)
Light, bubbly music can be heard at a local cafe in Manila, with customers jamming at the sound of ukuleles to relax and unwind.
Owners of "Uke Box Caffe" lets customers listen in or play ukuleles while having a cup of coffee.
Customers can bring their own ukuleles or rent the cafe's instruments hanging on the wall, which doubles as its decor, for a small fee.
Patrons can listen to local bands playing ukuleles during jamming nights and even join the performance, with music ranging from classical to contemporary pieces specifically arranged for the instrument.
Professional instructors also provide free ukulele lessons for beginners on weekends, which are normally packed with hobbyists and young professionals.
Participants are taught basic chords and are encouraged to perform together to boost confidence.
"Regardless of your background in life, your music ed or whatsoever professional, a businessman, as long as you want to relax, this is the instrument that we encourage you to grab," said Tryrone De Guzman, one of the ukulele instructors.
The cafe, which started in 2015, came from the owners' love of playing ukuleles and their desire to provide unique entertainment for customers.
It has since then drawn crowds who regularly visit the cafe to listen and sometimes participate in the jamming sessions.
"Weekends are special for me, that's my time with family and also to recuperate from work, so I consider this as an option for relaxation," said Jana Deborah Mier, a doctor who has been going to the cafe for weeks to study the instrument.
"Definitely it's a very easy musical instrument to learn. It doesn't need big hands unlike guitars where you need a bigger hand to grab all the chords. Here it's just a four string instrument that's small yet powerful," said Fil Carrion, a ukulele enthusiast.
Ukuleles said to have originated from Hawaii and are known for their small, four-stringed body that was adapted from a Portuguese guitar-like instrument from the 19th century.